By Brandon Moseley
Alabama Political Reporter
Moderate Senate Republicans joined with Senate Democrats on Wednesday to craft a compromise bill that will raise the ceiling on the debt from $17 trillion to $17.5 trillion, reopen the government, and appoint a conference committee to negotiate on ending the sequestration before the country hits the new debt ceiling in February.
U.S. Senators Richard Shelby (R) and Jeff Sessions (R) from Alabama both voted against the controversial government spending legislation.
Senator Shelby addressed his concerns on the floor of the Senate. Sen. Shelby said, “I firmly oppose this legislation. We should fund the government and safeguard the full faith and credit of the United States. We should do both, however, by putting our nation on a more responsible fiscal path. This legislation fails to do so.”
Sen. Sessions said in a written statement, “In the last five years, Washington spent more than $15 trillion and added more than $6 trillion to the debt. Never has so great a sum been spent for… so little in return. Despite this huge stimulus spending, wages are lower than in 1999 and nearly 60 million working-age Americans aren’t working. Fewer people are employed today than in 2007.”
Senator Shelby said, “Once again, we are kicking the can down the road. In the meantime, the spending continues and our national debt grows unabated. The American people deserve better.”
Sen. Sessions said, “Leader Reid and the White House have adopted the extreme stance that there is to be no change in policy to help the millions of Americans being squeezed out of the middle class.
They demanded yet another increase in the debt limit – without cutting one single penny of spending. They demanded the unfettered implementation of Obamacare – a law that will add $6 trillion to the long-term debt while causing millions of hardworking people to lose their jobs and health plans, forced into part-time work that can’t support a family. And they even demanded that we spend above the Budget Control Act – a transparent effort to permanently bust federal spending caps.”
Sen. Sessions concluded, “Now is not the time to pivot to the next issue. We’ll hit a new debt limit next year. We must stay focused on the central issue. With falling wages, $1 trillion in welfare spending, and a massive health law that no one can afford, now is the time to pursue a national reform agenda that serves working Americans. Struggling workers deserve a sound financial future – one with better wages, better incomes, and a better plan than borrowing money to mail more government checks.”
Senator Ted Cruz (R) from Texas said on Fox News that this compromise is a lousy deal for the American people. Sen. Cruz blamed the Republican establishment for sabotaging his controversial government shutdown strategy. Cruz said that if IF Senate Republicans had united and supported House Republicans efforts then there would have been a different outcome. Senator Cruz said that Senate Republicans sabotaged the shutdown effort.
This is the 82nd time that Congress has raised the national debt ceiling. Despite efforts by Sens. Shelby and Sessions the package was passed in the Senate 81 to 18.
In more bad news for Senate Republicans, the people of New Jersey voted today for Democrat Corey Booker to succeed the deceased Sen. Frank Lautenberg (D).
Senator Richard Shelby (R-Ala.) is the Vice Chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee.